Atlanta’s latest coronavirus updates: Thursday, April 23

A quick roundup of what's happening in metro Atlanta and what you may have missed

Atlanta coronavirus updates
Atlanta Medical Center on May 12

Photograph by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Wednesday, President Trump said he disagreed with Governor Kemp’s plan to re-open Georgia businesses. Here’s your Thursday morning update:

• There are now 21,102 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Georgia, 936 more cases than yesterday morning. 846 people have died, 28 more than yesterday morning. 4,018 have been hospitalized. 94,072 tests have been conducted. [GA Dept. of Public Health]

• While President Donald Trump had previously reacted favorably to Governor Brian Kemp’s decision to re-open Georgia businesses this Friday, during a Wednesday press conference, the president completely reversed his decision and said he “totally” disagrees with the governor’s decision to re-open businesses such as salons and tattoo parlors. Trump said it was “just too soon” to let these businesses open. Kemp and Trump had spoken on the phone Tuesday in what Kemp’s aids had said was a productive phone call, the AJC reports. Dr. Anthony Fauci, too, said during the press conference, “Going ahead and leapfrogging into phases where you should not be, I would advise [Kemp], as a health official and a physician, not to do that.” Kemp affirmed on Twitter that he would not rescind his plans, tweeting, “Our next measured step is driven by data and guided by state public health officials. We will continue with this approach to protect the lives—and livelihoods—of all Georgians.” [AJC/Twitter]

An 11 Alive online poll asked viewers if they agreed with Kemp’s decision to “ease restrictions.” The response was an overwhelming 98 percent “no.” [11 Alive]

• The IHME model, the most widely cited coronavirus prediction model, has changed projections for Georgia again. Last week the model said we had already passed our peak, but now, it says we will hit peak fatalities on April 29. It also recommends that Georgia not ease social distancing measures until June 22. [IHME]

• The state is working on a contact tracing program, something the federal guidelines on re-opening recommends prior to entering the first phase of the program. Public Health Commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey said that the contact tracing program is “our priority focus in the weeks ahead,” according to the AJC, and contact tracing has been used by the state to track TB and STDs. The program works by tracers contacting those who test positive to see who they’ve been in contact with, and then the tracer contacts those people and advises them to quarantine. The issue is the scale—the state needs a lot, possibly thousands, of tracers and those tracers have to act quickly to help control the spread. [AJC]

• The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has canceled the rest of its season, which as originally set to end June 14. The ASO is asking for patrons to consider donating their ticket fees to help support the musicians. The symphony is accepting donations, and all donations made before May 31 will be matched by an anonymous donor. [ASO]

• Starlight Drive-In Theatre has re-opened, but requires customers to watch the movie from inside their vehicles at all times. The snack bar and flea market are closed. [Facebook]